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New hard drive shows wrong size

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November 24, 2009 2:13:12 PM

I have a 2TB hard drive external hard drive (used for storing documents - no OS)

Windows 7 shows it as 1.81TB with 25.6GB of space available.

When I highlight all the files of the drive and do properties on it, it shows that I am only using a little over 1TB of space.

I ran WinDirStat and it confirms that I am using the 1TB of space.

Does anybody know where the other 500GB's of space went and how to recover it?

Thanks for any help someone can provide.

More about : hard drive shows wrong size

November 24, 2009 3:08:06 PM

It probably needs to be formatted. Do you have another drive large enough to hold your files long enough to reformat the drive?
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November 24, 2009 3:43:00 PM

I will shortly. Mainly, I was wondering if anyone knew what the problem was.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 362 G Storage
November 24, 2009 4:16:23 PM

First of all, 2 TB by HDD maker's measurements shows up in Windows as 1.86 TB by windows' re-definition of what a "GB" is.

However, your real question is where 500 GB disappeared. I'm assuming you have emptied your Recycle Bin and run Disk Cleanup. But beyond those common ones, there are a couple other things to check.

When you installed Win 7, was it an upgrade? Win 7 Install saves a whole bunch of your old files in a disk file called Windows.old or something similar. Is that file on your drive? Is it included in the 1 TB of space you already know is used?

Vista (and maybe Win 7?) has a process for creating periodic backup images as hidden files at certain points, which results in a lot of disk space used but not identified with visible files. I've forgotten the correct term for this process, but look for info on hidden files created by Vista.
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November 24, 2009 5:04:51 PM

As far as I can tell, these are all my files - no hidden files. I ran WinDirStat and that confirms that I am using the 1TB. Remember that this is an external drive - no OS on it at all.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 362 G Storage
November 25, 2009 2:10:42 PM

You can use Windows Disk Management to examine how the space on your 2 TB unit is allocated to Partitions. Within Windows click on Start in lower left and in that menu RIGHT-click on My computer and choose Manage. This opens the Computer Management window. In its left pane expand Storage if necessary to choose Disk Management. There will be two scrolling windows on the right. The upper one shows all the drives Windows can use right now with their names, Capacities and Free Space. Below that are the hardware devices represented by horizontal blocks. There will be one there representing your 2 TB unit with a label block to the left showing it as something like "Disk_0" with its size and a few details. To the right will be one block representing the portion of that unit already assigned to a Partition that is the named drive you are using for storage. That block MAY be the full space of the unit, which would indicate that the drive ought to have about 1.85 TB of Capacity. But my guess is that it does NOT take up all the disk's space, and to its right will be another block labeled "Unallocated Space". This would indicate that, at the time the first Partition was created and formatted, not all of the available space was assigned to that Partition. The Unallocated Space could be used two ways.

The simple possibility is that you can create another Partition from all of the remaining Unallocated Space, then format it and use it as a completely separate Drive with its own new letter name. But if you want to have ALL of the 12 TB drive used as one large drive Volume, that is not the way.

The second alternative is to Expand the existing Partition to take in (add) the Unallocated Space. You should be able to do that since the first (existing) Partition is not your C: drive from which you boot. You may be able to do this by RIGHT-clicking on the existing Partition to find a menu choice to Expand the Partition, and then setting it to use up all available Unallocated Space. But if there is no such choice, you can do it using third-party software like Partition Manager (you must buy it) or some freeware. Be aware, however, that there are a few tricks to doing this, and you'll want a software utility that can handle the whole job. One of the problems I've seen here is someone does the Expand operation in some manner, but the Disk File System on the existing Partition seems unaware that it has been expanded and still fails to show or use the new full capacity.

So, check the layout of the disk unit. If it has Unallocated Space, you can decide how to use it. On the other hand, if the existing Partition does already include all 1.86 TB but there still is 500 GB "missing" in the drive, then there must be some very large hidden files on it.
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a b G Storage
November 25, 2009 10:21:08 PM

desmondlee said:
I have a 2TB hard drive external hard drive (used for storing documents - no OS)

Windows 7 shows it as 1.81TB with 25.6GB of space available.

When I highlight all the files of the drive and do properties on it, it shows that I am only using a little over 1TB of space.

I ran WinDirStat and it confirms that I am using the 1TB of space.

Does anybody know where the other 500GB's of space went and how to recover it?

Thanks for any help someone can provide.


Well I think your problem is something else, but generally, windows and HDD manufatures have different definitions of data size. In Windows words, 1GB=1024MB, while an HDD counts it as 1GB=1000MB, so windows always reads less space then the HDD manufacturer says. Plus if you have a large amount of small files and very large file system clusters then you can have massive space loss. Also depends on your file system type, some of them can't read space larger then a certain amount. To fully and efficiently use all space, format into the latest NTFS file system will the smallest cluster size you can, although it will perform a bit slower.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 125 G Storage
November 25, 2009 11:12:04 PM

Yeah, what blackhawk said :)  ^^^^

When the industry went from being run by programmers and hardware geeks to bean counters and marketing sleazos, some marketing bozo figured out way back when .... like when when a 10 MB HD was H U G E .... that they could misrepresent size to their benefit by redefining the (base 2) byte definition from 1024 (2^10th) to the (base 10) 1000.
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a b $ Windows 7
a b G Storage
November 26, 2009 4:06:00 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Yeah, what blackhawk said :)  ^^^^

When the industry went from being run by programmers and hardware geeks to bean counters and marketing sleazos, some marketing bozo figured out way back when .... like when when a 10 MB HD was H U G E .... that they could misrepresent size to their benefit by redefining the (base 2) byte definition from 1024 (2^10th) to the (base 10) 1000.

Actually, the base 10 definition is the correct one, and the Windows base 2 method is the one that's a bit off. It gets farther off the larger drives get too.

As for where the 500GB went? Check for shadow copies, and try running disk cleanup.
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a b G Storage
November 26, 2009 10:51:48 AM

I personally would just format with a good third party partition software like EASEUS Partition Mananger which is free and excellent or partition magic which is the best IMO from payed versions.
-Take the hard drive, format it into a Primary NTFS Partition with a boot sector if you need it.
-For improved space efficiency, use smaller clusters like 4K or less, for more performance and little bit less space efficiency, use larger clusters like 16K,32K,or 64K.
After that you shouldn't have any problems.
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